Training Plan

Training Plan

Ashley Jones

Just finished a workout and thought you may be interested in what we are currently doing. My dear friend and colleague, Damian Marsh, has asked me to use more commas and full stops in my writing, so here goes.

Firstly, why do I strength/power train. Simply because I believe that all strength coaches should do as Dave Tate says and “spend time under the bar” and even better try and compete at least once, in one of the strength sports. Whether it is power lifting, Olympic lifting, strongman/woman, highland games is up to you, but you will experience something that is truly special.

Secondly, I like the physical feeling I get from the training I do, and even more beneficial is the mental effect. A feeling of positive personal well being fills me when I am training regularly and hitting the numbers I like.

Thirdly, and no less importantly, is the fact that training at 7:00am each morning before my players arrive to start there sessions gets me going neurally, it sparks me up and gets me ready for the day.

Now to the sessions, just a three day a week program at present, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with some aerobic/anaerobic intervals on Tuesday and Thursday, leaves the weekend free. All exercises are performed for 12 sets of 2 repetitions, using a rest pause style (10 to 15 seconds between each liftoff the double), also a step load protocol is utilized working up to the heaviest double you can manage. Also the super set is a modified super set where you will rest about 45 to 60 seconds between exercises and then your partner does the same double.


Split Snatches from the floor super set with Standing Box Jumps 12 x 2

I love the split snatch, old school I know, and I may not be able to lift as much as in a squat style snatch but I love the athleticism of getting under the bar quickly, you can alternate your split leg if you wish, or stay with your strongest leg moving forward. Have a look at some of the classic videos of lifters in the 50’s and 60’s, there is a great picture of the great Norbet Schemansky on the cover of a great wonderful biography about his life and career, Mr. Weightlifting, go for all the details.

The standing box jump, is the next exercise, a counter movement jump from the floor to on top of a plyometric box. You can easily add height to the box by using rubber flooring squares, these are approximately 2.5cms high, and so you will need 6 rubber squares stacked on top of each other to move from a 75 cms to 90 cms box jump. A one step in is okay but ideally you will be launching yourself skywards with no preparatory step in.


Block Cleans + Push Press super set with Band Box Squats 12 x 2

Block cleans allow you to start the movement from a different position; we have them at knee height. This will focus on a different portion of the strength curve for the movement and allows you to reset after each repetition. Also you really have to focus on getting the hips through quickly and are a great teaching tool as you can tee the shrug on the bar with the contact of the bar with the hips. If you do not have blocks I would recommend you try hang cleans instead.

Band box squats are simply awesome for the development of power and strength. We currently use green bands attached to the base of the power rack and squat to a 47 cms box. At this height it is slightly above parallel for me. Thanks Louie, if there were a Nobel Prize for services to training and discovery of the most useful techniques you would have one. For a detailed discussion go to


Clean & Jerk from the floor super set with weighted knees to feet jumps 12 x 2

The classic hybrid/compound exercise, the king of exercises, call it what you want but still one of the best combination total body exercise known to man. A great test of strength and training exercise, I can not wait for Beijing and the battle of the heavy weights to see who walks away with the “King of the Jungle” title.

The next jump exercise is a great movement for getting the hips through and teaching the feet moving apart at landing. It requires speed and co-ordination, and should be performed unloaded to begin with and then add dumbbells in the hands for loading. You have to move quickly or you just can not get your feet through to the squat finish position. The movement is also very good for flexibility through the hips and groin. Make sure you use your arms, start with your arms up in the air, swing them down past your side as you rock your hips back towards your heels and then drive your arms up and hips forward as you launch yourself up onto your feet. As an extension you can add a bar instead of dumbbells so it is a no arms movement and for the most advanced perform a snatch movement finishing in a squat snatch receiving position. I have had only one athlete who could do this and he was amazingly powerful.

I will change the exercises every few weeks but will always come back to these three days as my favourite and most result producing workouts. Good luck and Go Well.

Ashley Jones

Ashley Jones specialist in the physical preparation of rugby athletes. He has worked with professional sports teams that include Sydney Kings, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, Northern Eagles, Crusaders, New Zealand All Blacks, and Australian Wallabies. Irish by Ancestry, Australian by Birth, Japanese by Accident and a Kiwi by Choice.

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